Why Windows 10 LTSC is a good choice
When I'm not using Fedora or macOS, I use Windows.
I consider myself a poweruser and I like to use (but don't limit myself to) open source software.
The version of Windows I use is Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC.
(It used to be called LTSB, 'Long Term Servicing Branch', 'Branch' has now become 'Channel'.)
But Microsoft really doesn't want people to use Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC.
Basically, it's Windows 10 but without all the junk. Like Windows 7, but newer.
If one of the first things you do on a new Windows setup is install Firefox/Chrome/$browser, you will know what I mean. You won't find stuff like Edge, the Windows Store, Cortana, etc.
There won't be weird adverts for Candy Crush or Xbox on your start menu.
Everything I want to use on it works, development tools, games, hardware drivers, no problems that I have come across at all.
You can turn off telemetry, unlike Home/Pro.
The only thing I had to remove was the OneDrive links in Explorer, apart from that it's exactly what I want.
Yet many people dissuade you from using it, saying that it's only for 'mission-critical' situations, things like ATM machines, or for medical computers in a hospital that have some sort of life saving equipement attached.
To me that sounds silly, a bit like saying, "Don't use this car, it's too stable, it's meant to never breakdown".
I want my OS to be just as dependable as those 'mission-critical' ones. I don't want my computer to crash or restart to install an update when I'm watching a movie.
I think the main reason is that LTSC is the least SaaS Windows 10 you can get. SaaS - Software as a Service, is when you basically rent software.
For example, instead of buying a one off license for Microsoft Office 2016 and Adobe CS6, now we have the pay monthly option of Office 365 and Adobe CC.
Like leasing a car, it's good because it's always up to date and the monthly payments are small.
But the negatives are the same: the payments add up, and you never get to own anything.
If you try use Adobe CC offline for 1 month, you will get a warning message. 99 days later and you will only be able to launch it once more, it will stop working.
Adobe doesn't even offer CS6 anymore, only CC.
Microsoft have called Windows 10 'WaaS' - Windows as a Service.
What is the cost I am paying by using LTSC? What am I losing out on?
A Microsoft consultant has written a post here - https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/ukplatforms/2018/06/11/say-no-to-long-term-servicing-channel-ltsc/
He gives many reasons why you shouldn't use LTSC, yet some of the points he gives are exactly the reason I choose to use LTSC! I have shared his points below:
- Using LTSC means missing out on new OS enhancements that are included in SAC releases – particularly new security features
- LTSC does not keep pace with new silicon releases in the same way SAC does – so LTSC 2016 does not support Intel chips beyond the ‘Kabylake’ generation
Windows Analytics Upgrade Readiness does not support LTSC
- No support for the modern Edge browser
- No support for Cortana
- No support for Windows Store
- No support for Surface hardware
- LTSC does not support ConfigMgr Express Updates
- In-Place Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is not supported for LTSC
From January 2020, Microsoft Office 365 will not be supported on LTSC
LTSC does not keep pace with feature enhancements to Windows Defender ATP
Potential Independent Hardware and Software Vendor support and limitations on LTSC
- Non-security operating system fixes and enhancements may not get back-ported to LTSC
- Loosely defined LTSC release cycles make planning ahead more difficult
LTBC definelty gets security updates, so I don't believe there is anything to worry about security-wise. I can live with not getting new little features, things like Microsoft's Night Light. I have been using f.lux/redshift/cf.lumen for years, so that makes no difference to me. I'm not sure about the other feature updates, but I don't feel like I'm missing anything!
I actively stay away from Cortana, Windows Store, and Edge. I'm happy they are gone, it was difficult removing them from 10 Pro.
I don't have use a Surface device.
I'm not upgrading in place from Windows 7.
I don't want to use Office 365, I'll use 2016 or 2019.
The only negatives I think that are important for others:
- It won't get updates to new chipsets. - Personally I use a notebook, so I'm not going to swap out the CPU.
- You may not get support from a company, because it's not a commonly used OS. Company ABC might say they don't officially support LTSC, so even if that's not the reason application XYZ isn't working right, they may not help you.
- When a new LTSC release comes out and you want to update, I think you need to do a fresh install - you can't update in place. Maybe it is possible! (A new LTSC version comes out every 2-3 years or so, with the latest chipset support and other features from the main Windows 10.)
So why shouldn't I use LTSC?
The only reason I feel I shouldn't use LTSC is because I shouldn't normally be able to accquire a license for it, because it's not sold for personal use.
(Looking on eBay though, I can see some licenses being sold for less than $10!)
Apart from that sole reason, I'm perfectly happy to use it and I have done for a while. I'll update to the 1809(?) release when it's out.
If you are not tied into the Microsoft ecosystem and consider yourself a poweruser, and want to have your Windows installation 'just work', I really recommend using LTSC!
If you are interested and want to try out LTSC, check out this link: